I bade farewell to a friend today, Bob Ewell who works with the navigators was here teaching principles of discipleship to the pastoral students at Emmaus Biblical Seminary. He had finished his two week module and was racing back home to be at another function on Friday. I pray he makes it.
I however was just starting out today. People here keep asking how the first day went and my answer is rather consistent: I’m not sure. Nothing went wrong, that’s for certain but I haven’t really clicked with my translator Guenson either. I will soon, I’m certain of that. I’ve worked with him before and he’s very talented. The first day for me is a bit staccato. First there are brief introductions, then we go over the syllabus and eventually we try to start the class while I ask some questions and try to get a grip on where my students are at.
For the first portion of my Spiritual Warfare classes I start with some basic world view principles. North American Christians typically have a more naturalistic or perhaps I should say, minimally spiritualistic world view. Haitian Christians however have grown up in a culture that is saturated with spiritism. The reality of the matter is that North American Christians think too little of the demonic while Haitian Christians think too much of it. Neither is Biblically balanced and I try to fix that during the course.
So today we dealt with world view. My church is currently working through worldview studies from a slightly different angle on Wednesday nights. Both our Youth Group and our prayer group is working through some material titled “Thinking Like A Christian“. It’s good stuff you should check it out. (note the gratuitous Amazon links).
For the third hour of the day I asked questions. One of the most difficult facts for us to perceive is the amount of encroachment our cultures make into the church. Granted, sometimes that isn’t necessarily an evil thing. But in some cases it is. And since my blinders are at least partially on for American culture sneaking into the church I asked questions about the many ways that Voudou principles and practices infiltrate the church in Haiti. My mind was again officially blown.
In former years I’ve heard about the pastors who go to the local
mambo boku (witch doctor) to get a talisman to make more people come to church. But this year I heard about the constant struggle against fear. Now, there’s really no easy way to communicate this to the western mindset so you just have to take it at face value. Witch doctors will put some sort of powder or fetishes in churches or on the roof of churches or in the path to church in order to in some way curse or hinder the church. This is just one small area in which fear dominates the reactions of some people. It is far too normal for people to go to church on Sunday and yet consult the witch doctor when they are sick. And the list goes on but this is not the time or post to dissect voudou influence in the Haitian church – I only wanted to give a few examples. The voudou culture does indeed sneak into the church and it’s a constant struggle for Haitian pastors to both see it and disrupt it.
Suffice it to say it was a fascinating hour and I was sad to see it go past. There’s day one. I spent the rest of the afternoon in preparation for an upcoming message to many missionaries in the Cap Haitian area – though I must confess that last night’s lack of sleep did catch up to me and I dozed for about half an hour. I know it was half an hour because I set my watch for an hour and was disappointed that I didn’t make it that long.
Dinner should be in about an hour and I’m seldom late for dinner. I think I’ll go early and get a good seat.
Oh, and one last thing: pray for my hostess she is ill. Her name is Angie.